Saturday, 6 February 2010

Sticky Letters

Yalta,
March 6, 1904
You ought to be ashamed of yourself writing with such awful ink, my little baby cachalot, my darling. You may not believe it, but I give you my word, I had to peel the envelope away from the letter, as if they'd been glued together on purpose. Masha has sent me the same sort of sticky letter. It's downright revolting. Not only are the letters sticky, but you use them to frighten me with your premonitions: "There's something horrible hanging over my head," etc. Our vile cold weather makes me feel bad enough as it is. There's snow in the mountains and a thin layer of snow on the roofs, and the air is colder than in Moscow.

Anton Chekhov writing to his wife, Olga Knipper, from Yalta. The Russo-Japanese war had just begun. Chekhov was terminally ill with tuberculosis. He died in July 1904.

Anton Chekhov and Olga Knipper during their honeymoon in 1901
 From Anton Chekhov's Life and Thought. Selected Letters and Commentary. Edited & Annotated by Simon Karlinsky. Trans. by Michael Henry Heim. Northwestern U. Press, Illinois: Harper & Row Publishers 1973.

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